iPhone 12 'a step behind' Android competition in 5G battery tests

Image From Ios
Image From Ios (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Tom's Guide has put the iPhone 12 through its paces in a new battery test.
  • Unfortunately, the iPhone 12 seems to lag behind some of its Android competitors when it comes to 5G.
  • Testing also revealed just how big an impact 5G will have on performance compared to last year.

Testing of Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro has revealed that it may lag behind competing Android devices when it comes to battery life whilst using 5G.

Fresh test results from Tom's Guide have brought the issue to light. From their report:

We've run the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through our battery test, and the results don't bring the best news. Compared to the Android competition, Apple's new phones are a step behind those devices on our best phone battery life list, especially over 5G networks.Here's how the Tom's Guide battery test works. It surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. For the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, we ran this test over 5G and 4G, and the difference was pretty dramatic.

As noted, the report also reveals the impact 5G could have on battery life compared to previous models of iPhone. Surfing AT&T's 5G network, the iPhone 12 lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes. By way of comparison, the iPhone 11 was good for 11 hours and 16 minutes of 4G surfing conducting the same test, revealing the dent 5G can make in your expected usage time.

Further confirming this, switching the iPhone 12 to 4G-only boosted the iPhone 12's performance to 10 hours and 23 minutes, a big improvement on the 5G test but still not enough to match the iPhone 11.

As Tom's Guide notes, this would seemingly put the iPhone 12 at a disadvantage versus its Android competitors, losing out to phones including the Galaxy S20 (at 60Hz, not 120Hz), and the Google Pixel 5.

The iPhone 12 Pro did fair better in 5G testing, offering 5G and 4G battery life of 9 hours 6 minutes and 11 hours 24 minutes respectively. The latter 4G result seems to be the only parameter in which the iPhone 12 outperformed the iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 Pro's results also made for a much more competitive showing against its Samsung rivals.

The only key thing to remember is that this test doesn't account for Apple's new Smart Data Mode, which can automatically switch between 4G and 5G depending on usage, optimizing both battery life and data consumption. However, the 4G-only iPhone 12 test seems to confirm that whilst Smart Data Mode might improve the iPhone 12's overall battery performance, it may not be enough to compete with either similar Android devices or last year's iPhone 11.

You can read the full report complete with comparisons here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9